The bus overturned when the driver lost control at a junction and came to rest on the roof of a house. “I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot face the suffering of these people,” local Mayor Filipe Sousa told to media. Eleven of the fatalities were men and 17 women, Mr Sousa added. Many others were injured and transfered to hospital. The bus was reported to be carrying 55 passengers. The injured included the Portuguese driver and a local tour guide. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
The vice-president of Madeira’s regional government Pedro Calado said the bus met safety standards and so it was “premature to talk about what caused the crash”. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was at the scene of the accident. The German government spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted: “Our deep sorrow goes to all those who lost their lives in the bus accident, our thoughts are with the injured.” The government has set up a telephone hotline for people worried about family members. Madeira is a popular vacation spot for many Europeans.